Long-slit spectroscopy observations of Uranus by the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope UIST instrument in 2006, 2007 and 2008 have been used to monitor the change in Uranus’ vertical and latitudinal cloud structure through the planet’s Northern Spring Equinox in December 2007. These spectra were analysed and presented by Irwin et al. (Irwin, P.G.J., Teanby, N.A., Davis, G.R. . Icarus 203, 287–302), but since publication, a new set of methane absorption data has become available (Karkoschka, E., Tomasko, M. . Methane absorption coefficients for the jovian planets from laboratory, Huygens, and HST data. Icarus 205, 674–694.), which appears to be more reliable at the cold temperatures and high pressures of Uranus’ deep atmosphere. We have fitted k-coefficients to these new methane absorption data and we find that although the latitudinal variation and inter-annual changes reported by Irwin et al. (2009) stand, the new k-data place the main cloud deck at lower pressures (2–3bars) than derived previously in the H-band of ∼3–4bars and ∼3bars compared with ∼6bars in the J-band. Indeed, we find that using the new k-data it is possible to reproduce satisfactorily the entire observed centre-of-disc Uranus spectrum from 1 to 1.75μm with a single cloud at 2–3bars provided that we make the particles more back-scattering at wavelengths less than 1.2μm by, for example, increasing the assumed single-scattering albedo from 0.75 (assumed in the J and H-bands) to near 1.0. In addition, we find that using a deep methane mole fraction of 4% in combination with the associated warm ‘F’ temperature profile of Lindal et al. (Lindal, G.F., Lyons, J.R., Sweetnam, D.N., Eshleman, V.R., Hinson, D.P. . J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14987–15001), the retrieved cloud deck using the new (Karkoschka and Tomasko, 2010) methane absorption data moves to between 1 and 2bars. The same methane absorption data and retrieval algorithm were applied to observations of Neptune made during the same programme and we find that we can again fit the entire 1–1.75μm centre-of-disc spectrum with a single cloud model, providing that we make the stratospheric haze particles (of much greater opacity than for Uranus) conservatively scattering (i.e. ω=1) and we also make the deeper cloud particles, again at around the 2bar level more reflective for wavelengths less than 1.2μm. Hence, apart from the increased opacity of stratospheric hazes in Neptune’s atmosphere, the deeper cloud structure and cloud composition of Uranus and Neptune would appear to be very similar.
Jonnalagadda, M. K., Karmalkar, N. R., Duraiswami, R. A., Harshe, S., Gain, S., & Griffin, W. L. (2017). Formation of atoll garnets in the UHP eclogites of the TSO Morari Complex, Ladakh, Himalaya. Journal of Earth System Science, 126(8), . https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-017-0887-y